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Here is what you need to know on Thursday, August 22nd:
– The FOMC Meeting Minutes have shown that back on July 31st, some argued against a rate cut while others wanted a double dose – a 50bp rate cut. The reaction was muted as markets await the all-important speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Friday.
– Brexit: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested the UK may come up with an alternative to the Irish backstop, and UK prime minister Boris Johnson picked up the challenge. The optimism that characterized their press conference on Wednesday did not change the basic differences. Johnson meets French President Emmanuel Macron today – which may play the “bad cop.” An unnamed French official said that a hard-Brexit is now the base case scenario and weighed on GBP/USD.
– Markit’s preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Indexes for August are expected to show further sluggish growth – and an ongoing contraction in the all-important German manufacturing sector. The forward-looking figures may raise fears of a recession.
– The European Central Bank’s meeting minutes from the July meeting will likely set the ground for easing in the September meeting.  
– Trade wars: President Donald Trump has said he is the “chosen one” in tackling China, while an opinion piece in the South China Morning Posts argues that the US has manipulated the dollar via Quantitative Easing.  
– Cryptocurrencies are on the back foot with Bitcoin struggling to hold onto $10,000.